Community - 2006 Edition 1 - Autumn | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2006 Edition 1 - Autumn

Community: Edition 1 (Autumn), 2006

Comment: A time to celebrate

As I am sure just about everyone who is interested in the University now knows, this is a special year. A milestone in our remarkable development across ten years. A time to both reflect and envision, a time to both celebrate but avoid inertia and complacency.

The higher education sector continues to change rapidly and only the strongest institutions will thrive. Our strength clearly derives from our relative youth. We are not hidebound by tradition. And we have a strong and proven regional mandate, not just for academic programs but also in addressing wider economic and cultural issues as well.

Our success to date is palpable and it is the assessments of us by independent evaluators that prove this.

The academic qualifications of staff, the five-star rating given to USC by students, the recognition by the OECD as an exemplary 'engaged' university, the huge number of awards for building and planning, Australia's regional incubator of the year - and the list goes on.

We have much to be proud of, and our greatest achievements have been secured through the help of and cooperation with a wide range of people internally and externally. The efforts that people have made to make USC a success have been awe-inspiring.

To have moved from a tiny, under-resourced organisation that many were convinced would fail, to become Australia's fastest growing university, with international recognition, and being one of the region's most significant organisations is worthy of year-long celebrations.

But not at any stage will we take our eye off the future and ensuring the successes continue.

Professor Paul Thomas

News in brief
Employer of Choice for Women

The University was again recognised as an Employer of Choice for Women. The award, from the Federal Government Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, recognises the University as a workplace that supports female staff by providing a positive and flexible environment.

The Einstein Factor

Dr Karen Brooks has become a regular on the ABC television program The Einstein Factor. Dr Brooks, Senior Lecturer in Australian and Cultural Studies, first appeared on the program earlier this year as part of the 'brains trust'. The Einstein Factor screens Sundays at 6.30pm.

Extra places

The University received an additional 40 student places for 2006 — 20 each for Education and Nursing. The 40 first year places will increase to over 100 as students progress through their degrees. Education and Nursing are popular with students and both professions enjoy excellent employment rates.

Professor Ralston joins UC

Congratulations to Professor Deborah Ralston, former Dean of the Faculty of Business, on her appointment as substantive Pro Vice-Chancellor BLIS (Business, Law and Information Services) at the University of Canberra.

Northern University Games

USC is the partner university for this year's Northern University Games being held on the Sunshine Coast in July. The Games attract close to 2500 student competitors from 14 universities across northern New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

New students enjoy Orientation 2006
Our largest intake ever

More than 1,800 new students were welcomed to the University in February. An increase of 14 percent on last year and USC's largest intake ever.

The majority of new students are from the Sunshine Coast, and almost 200 people have made the move from the Brisbane region to attend university here.

Eighty new students have come from interstate and more than 230 are international students. Sixty-three percent of new undergraduate students are female and 70 percent are aged under 21 years.

USC defies national trend

Despite a national downturn in the number of university applications, the University of the Sunshine Coast went against the trend attracting up to 30 percent more first preference applications in 2006 than last year.

"There was a dramatic increase in the number of students choosing to study at USC in 2006," Professor Greg Hill, USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor, says.

"We have introduced a range of new undergraduate degrees for this year which attracted new students and our popular courses in Arts, Biomedical Science, Education, Nursing, Sport and Exercise, Journalism and Accounting also attracted a large number of applications.

"The reputation of the University is growing. In the recent Learning and Teaching Performance Fund exercise, USC ranked number two in Australia for student satisfaction with their educational experience," he says.

Tertiary Preparation Pathway

Tertiary Preparation Pathway, or TPP, is a new program developed by the University to provide students with an alternative entry pathway into tertiary study.

It is set to commence in Semester 2, 2006 and TPP students will benefit from the University's small class sizes and the high level of support provided by teaching staff.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Hill says the program is a significant development for the University and the region.

"This program will give people an alternative pathway into tertiary study," Professor Hill says.

"At present, there are several ways to gain entry to university through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC), such as an OP score - which is relevant to school leavers - a suitable TAFE qualification, extensive work experience in a particular industry or to have studied at some higher level since leaving school.

"For people who do not have any of those, our Tertiary Preparation Pathway provides them with a way of gaining admission to a degree program at USC without first gaining additional qualifications.

"Commonwealth Government is very supportive of the Tertiary Preparation Pathway program in regional universities because they recognise the importance of providing enhanced opportunities for university study.

"Because of this, there is no HECS fee associated with TPP," Professor Hill says.

Another bonus is that the new program allows students to experience university life before committing to a three or four year degree.

"About half of our students are mature age students, which means they didn't come to university direct from high school," Professor Hill says.

"They have all taken an alternative path into university study — but not everyone was offered an opportunity with the previous programs.

"TPP will address that gap and provide many more people with the opportunity to study at university."

For many people in the community the idea of starting a full degree program may seem a little daunting.

"Many may feel that they are not prepared enough to go straight into a degree program, so TPP will be a 'bridging' step for them to experience lectures, tutorials and what is required of them at university level study and assessment.

"For students who already have a suitable background for university entry, but who may feel unsure of their capabilities, for example in using a computer, there is also the option of enrolling in one or two courses rather than the full TPP program," he says.

On successful completion of four TPP courses, students will be able to gain guaranteed entry into most USC degree programs through the standard QTAC application process.

"The majority of mature age students who return to study do exceptionally well. They are committed and enjoy the challenge of life-long learning.

"On many occasions, these people really exceed their own expectations and end up doing far more than what they thought they were capable of and they learn a lot about themselves in the process.

"Their contribution in lectures and tutorials also brings another dimension to the experience of school leavers.

"TPP is a very positive move forward for both USC and the community," Professor Hill says.

How TPP works
  • Minimum entry age 17
  • Apply direct to USC
  • Courses offered in Semesters 1 and 2
  • Study full-time or part-time
  • Students complete four courses*
  • In some cases, students can study one or two courses to bring their skills up to date if they have other QTAC entry qualifications
  • Courses are not HECS liable and incur no cost to the student
  • Students will be eligible for Austudy
  • Program structure involves studying courses in academic skills and computer literacy and two courses from a choice of: Bioscience, Mathematics, Statistics, Introduction to Aboriginal Studies or Contemporary Australia
  • Please note that courses completed through TPP cannot be used as credit towards a degree.

* Can be completed in one semester if studying full-time.

To find out more or to apply

Contact Student Administration on +61 7 5430 2890 or email:

Please note. TPP is not available to international students.

Sport and Health Clinic opens

The Centre for Healthy Activities, Sport and Exercise (CHASE), Sport and Health Clinic officially opened its doors in February. The Clinic offers unique facilities to the community, amateur and professional athletes, health practitioners, and sporting groups.

CHASE Director, Associate Professor Brendan Burkett, said the Clinic will be open to the public and will provide access to professional sport science and health testing, as well as health advice.

"It will bring together a range of health and sport science professionals under one roof who are committed to providing the highest level of care and service to clients," Dr Burkett says.

"Our team of health professionals includes sports doctors and dietitians, a sports psychologist, physiotherapist and sport and exercise scientists who will be available for appointments with individuals and sporting groups to help them plan their training and develop a comprehensive approach to all aspects of sport, health and wellbeing.

"The University has also become the first university in Australia to be accredited by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). We are receiving this accreditation because of the quality and standards of the testing facilities we have here in our laboratories.

"Opening the Clinic to the public means the community can now access this elite testing facility for their own personal health and fitness programs," he says.

Local sporting groups are also set to benefit from increased sport science expertise being made available at the University.

"Local sporting groups already use the testing facilities here and have access to the sport scientists at USC but the Clinic will allow them to further develop their own personalised training programs suited to their individual sports," Dr Burkett says.

"The Clinic team will offer advice and strategies on injury prevention, injury and illness rehabilitation, dietary planning and ways to develop a 'winning edge' by helping people remain motivated and on course with their programs," he says.

Another important part of Clinic services will be providing local health professionals with access to AIS quality laboratory testing facilities.

"Our sports medicine services will include sport injury assessment and management, exercise advice for people with chronic illness, medically supervised fitness and exercise testing and GPs can also refer their clients for assessment and treatment of exercise-induced asthma here on the Coast, rather than having to travel to Brisbane," Dr Burkett says.

For further information or to make an appointment with a health professional, contact +61 7 5459 4489 or email

The Power of Ten: celebrating our first and future decades

In 1994, Professor Thomas left a plumb position with Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane to become planning president of Sunshine Coast's future university.

"When I began, I had a borrowed white Toyota Camry from QUT, and I also borrowed a mobile phone from the Office of Higher Education," he says.

"I had my filing system in the boot of my car and I stayed in motels while I consulted with community groups and businesses. When peak tourist periods came around, when demand was high for accommodation, I slept in my car - not often, but on a couple of nights.

"I was given a tiny budget. I had A$250,000 for the first planning year. And what I had to convey to the community was the ambition and the vision of what could be, despite the lack of resources."

Professor Thomas says a community meeting at the Super Bee at Tanawha in 1994 spurred him on.

"I was there alone, talking about the obstacles before us to get the university started, and people came up to me saying that if I didn't get this going, their children's future would be bleak. At the time, there was over 20 percent youth unemployment on the Sunshine Coast, and overall the unemployment rate was 14 percent, both higher than the national averages.

"There was a sense of desperation that there had to be opportunities created to stop this cycle and the brain drain. They wanted — needed — a university and the prospect had been unfulfilled for too long.

"But there was a sense that the community did not want an elite place, a place where they felt uncomfortable or didn't belong. They wanted an engaged university that helped address the Coast's issues, and enhanced its visibility as a region nationally."

Professor Thomas says that when the university began in 1996, the Act stated that it would be considered for review — to see whether or not it could become a fully-fledged university — in 2006 at the earliest.

"It was an uphill struggle, but within 18 months we had our review and officially became the University of the Sunshine Coast. It's odd to think that if we hadn't really worked for it, the university would only now be being reviewed."

It is now ten years since it first opened its doors, and the University of the Sunshine Coast has the dual distinctions of being the youngest university in the country, and also the fastest growing.

"The challenge for us is that because of the demand for places at the University, and the lack of funds available to construct buildings to accommodate those students, we have to think broadly, consider all possibilities and perhaps look at offering education in ways that may not be available at other campuses in Australia.

Professor Thomas says he revels in what the University has become, and the high levels of students' satisfaction.

"What is winning favour and friends out there is that our students talk up this place," he says.

"We have highly qualified teachers, professional involvement and offer students real world experience that they would be unlikely to get elsewhere. And they are getting more and more jobs, which is most important."

With a decade in the top job behind him and at least five more ahead, Professor Thomas says the key to maintaining enthusiasm is to embrace change and growing complexity.

"I have been here longer than most VCs have held their positions," he says. "But then, perhaps most VCs see it as a job they do.

"I don't — I just love it, I just love coming to work."

The Power of Ten at Twilight, 23 February 2006

More than 500 people attended the official launch of the Power of Ten celebrations held in February. Guests viewed the Catalyst: USC and The Power of Ten exhibition, and enjoyed a moving presentation featuring staff describing their early memories of USC.

New Dean of Business

Professor Ed Fitzgerald has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Business. With a PhD in information systems strategic planning from the University of NSW, Professor Fitzgerald has held the position of Professor in Information Systems at USC since 2003.

Prior to that, at the University of Southern Queensland, he had a major role in introducing and developing the Information Systems discipline, was the director of an e-business research centre, and held a variety of senior management positions.

In addition to his management and research roles, he has extensive lecturing experience at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels.

Prior to his university involvement, Professor Fitzgerald worked in the Information Technology industry as a senior project manager and business systems analyst/programmer. He maintains an active involvement in consulting in the public and private sectors, specialising in ICT strategy, benefits management, IT / Business relationships, and knowledge management.

Study year begins at USC Noosa Centre

More than 30 new students have begun the year at the University's Noosa Centre.

The University is offering first year business subjects from the Sunshine Beach location. The Noosa Centre is a self-sufficient facility that allows students to study closer to home and develop links with local industry.

University staff deliver lectures and tutorials, offering students access to the best in teaching and learning. Facilities include a computer laboratory, library, lecture and tutorial rooms and a student lounge.

Resources and support include administrative services, 24-hour computer access to e-reserve collections and databases, staff-student consultation and support services.

Find out how to apply to begin studying in Semester 2, 2006 and for more information about the Noosa Centre can be found on the USC Noosa Centre page or telephone the Faculty of Business on +61 7 5430 1221.

New Business appointment

Associate Professor Jennifer Radbourne has been appointed Head of the School of Management in the Faculty of Business. Dr Radbourne joins USC following an extensive career in business management both here and overseas.

Her teaching and research areas focus on the business development of creative industries and her experience includes establishing and directing the Hong Kong based business program for QUT from 2003 to 2005.

She has also taught in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Washington, San Francisco and Vietnam. Dr Radbourne has consulted to government and arts organisations in the areas of strategic planning, benchmarking, marketing and sponsorship in the arts.

USC teacher education celebrates one year

Undergraduate teacher education programs commenced at the University of the Sunshine Coast at the beginning of last year and in 2006 more than 200 students entered their second year of study.

The students, a mix of school-leavers and mature age, are studying combined education degrees in Arts, Business or Science and during 2005 they were in schools working with teacher mentors from the Sunshine Coast region and beyond.

Education academic staff have also been active in representing the tertiary sector on key stakeholder bodies.

Professor of Education, Tania Aspland, is a member of the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) Governing Body and staff are also working with major education authorities across the state to enhance education for young Queenslanders.

Professor Aspland's colleague, Dr Jennifer Nayler, is a tertiary representative on the QSA's Social and Environmental Syllabus Advisory Committee.

Dr Nayler has facilitated some key stakeholder workshops convened by QSA on important matters such as the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework currently under development, as well as delivering state and regional keynotes for QSA and Education Queensland.

A professional learning program, saMY (Scaffolding Action in the Middle Years) proved popular with teachers and administrators and will run again in May 2006.

A greater variety of professional development programs will be available in 2006 and further learning opportunities include a Re-Entry to Teaching Program and a conference — Let Me Learn: Making a Measurable Difference.

2006 looks to be an even busier year with 610 students enrolled in education programs.

As well as the undergraduate programs, students are studying the Graduate Diploma in Education and there will be courses offered in a Graduate Certificate in Professional Learning, which will form the basis of the soon-to-be accredited Master of Professional Learning. A number of students are also enrolled in the PhD program.

To meet the needs of this rapid expansion the team has welcomed new academic staff members: Associate Professor Juhani Tuovinen, Dr Michael Nagel, Dr Bill Allen, Ms Kylie Readman, Ms Lee Coleman and Dr Bob Grandin.

First nursing graduates in high demand

In November 2005, the first group of 25 students to study the Bachelor of Nursing at the University of the Sunshine Coast celebrated their final year of study. All 25 students had been offered employment, with some receiving up to three job offers from as far afield as Victoria. The degree is run in conjunction with Central Queensland University.

Art Gallery success

More than ten thousand people passed through the doors of the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery in 2005, making it their biggest year yet.

"Numbers were up almost 30 per cent on 2004 with 10,361 people visiting the Gallery throughout the exhibitions," Gallery Curator Ms Dawn Oelrich says.

"A team of generous volunteers help run the Gallery, allowing it to open for free to the public. We are really grateful for their support throughout 2005."

Alumni celebrations

Alumni, including some of the University's inaugural students, returned to campus for a special evening to celebrate the University's tenth anniversary and view the Catalyst exhibition.

New Alumni Relations Officer

Denielle Leishman has joined USC as Alumni Relations Officer. She will establish an Alumni Relations program for both domestic and international graduates that will benefit the University and the wider community.

Her role entails encouraging alumni to keep in touch with USC, providing networking opportunities for graduates, employers and the community, organising alumni events and keeping alumni up to date with university happenings.

Having worked as a teacher and for QTAC, CQU and most recently in a similar role at UQ, Ms Leishman brings a wealth of experience and understanding of higher education institutions.

You can contact Ms Leishman on +61 7 5459 4564 or email


The University is offering its popular Keep PACE sessions during 2006. The series of free information sessions are open to students, parents and the community. Sessions begin at 6.30pm and include question time and presentations by current students.

Bookings are essential. Contact +61 7 5459 4558 or email to secure your place.

Back to school — returning to study: 26 April

Detailed information on everything you need to know about returning to study. For people interested in studying at university who are not direct school-leavers. Entry pathways, application processes and study options are covered.

Taking the big step — choices after high school: 3 May

School students face a number of important decisions as they approach the end of Year 12. This session answers the questions all students and parents should be asking.

Developing your academic skills — note taking: 10 May

This hands-on workshop provides practical note-taking tips and strategies designed to meet the challenges of secondary and university study. Covers listening skills, mind mapping and more.

Finding information online for beginners: 7 June

Tips on where to look and how to search effectively to quickly find what you are looking for. Introduces a range of online resources, journals and newspapers and includes hands-on practice.

School Grants Scheme

The School Grants Scheme is an innovative new USC program designed to assist schools in accessing funding to develop new curriculum projects that enhance teaching and learning within the classroom, or that engage schools with their communities.

Schools have been invited to submit their projects, whether large or small, involving a single class or the whole school.

Possible projects may include authors or artists in residence, science fairs and other special curriculum events, working with a community group to regenerate a community park, organising a best practice sharing day across a number of schools etc. The range of projects is limitless. Grants of up to A$2,000 are available.

Further information and application forms are available.

Courses and Programs Finder

The Courses and Programs Finder is a new interactive feature on the USC website that helps students find information about the degree programs and specific courses that match their interests. Nearly 300,000 people visited the USC website in February 2006. The number of USC web pages increased from 1,091 in early 2005 to 3,644 in February 2006.

Free career counselling sessions

Staff from the University's Careers Service can help you with free personal career counselling appointments. Assistance is available in finding your dream job, résumé presentation, career development and much more.

Appointments are available at either the USC Sippy Downs campus or the USC Noosa Centre. To make an appointment, contact Student Life and Learning on +61 7 5430 1226 or email

Art Gallery exhibitions

Selected Chinese Prints from the 20th Century: 1900-1999
30 March-29 April

Organised by the Australian Embassy of the People's Republic of China, this exhibition of 100 woodblock prints, screenprints, lithographs, copper plates and etchings takes us through 100 years of printmaking in China.

Time Place Space
4 May-3 June

Observing the characteristics of time, space and place, Mandy McGuire and Andrew Dixon create an exhibition of spatial phenomena. The paintings become an exploration of time as a continuum, showing interplay of the flat and the virtual.

Gallery hours

During exhibitions, the Gallery is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 1-4pm. Admission is free.

Mailing list

To be included on our Gallery mailing list please contact Di Southwell on +61 7 5430 1104 or

The 2006 Gallery Exhibition Program is proudly supported by Coastline BMW.


University events

Graduation 2006

20 April

Voices on the Coast

29 May-3 June

Design Students' Mid-Year Exhibition

8-23 June

Let Me Learn: Making a Difference

11 and 12 August

Education Minister's Awards for
Excellence in Art

11-26 August

Courses for Careers Day

20 August


Power of Ten Events

Northern University Games

2-7 July

Australian String Quartet

2 August

10th Year Anniversary Exhibition

31 August-7 October

Alumni Homecoming Weekend

1-3 September

The Power of Ten Gala Dinner

10 October

The Power of Ten Debate

1 November